Tiny fairy tale home in Bend

Slideshow: Tour this 875-square-foot charmer

By Penny Nakamura / For The Bulletin


Published May 20, 2014 at 12:11AM / Updated May 20, 2014 at 08:11AM

The first thing you’ll notice about Gary Beaudoin’s home from the outside is that it’s small. Very small.

At 875 square feet, it’s one of the smaller freestanding homes in Bend and, in a word, it’s cute. Just how cute?

“I’ve had people knock on the door, wanting to see this house,” says Beaudoin, with a good-natured laugh. “I’ve had at least 10 offers on my house. I could probably sell it in five minutes. People seem to really love it.”

The tiny but tall and skinny house sits on a 6,000-square-foot lot, with magnificent views of Pilot Butte, downtown and the Old Mill.

Gary Beaudoins one-bedroom, one-bath home off Northwest Saginaw in Bend has a bright paint scheme.

Rob Kerr / The Bulletin

The cheerful yellow stucco structure, with a red front door and red exterior trimmed window, looks as though it came straight out of a fairy tale.

Inside, it has an abundance of detailed features in an economic space.

“I wanted to build a house with intention,” said Beaudoin. “My old house, before I built this one, was probably 2,600 square feet, and there was a lot of wasted space there. You should build only what works for you, not by prescribed square footage.”

Beaudoin built his house 15 years ago with the idea that form should follow function, and he firmly believed less could be more.

Beaudoin was not a novice to the building business, having worked as a construction manager for the Shevlin Pines subdivision and having sat on its design review board.

When he first bought this lot, Beaudoin says he spent a lot of time simply sitting in a chair studying the sun and shadow lines to figure out the correct placement for his home. He wanted to know where he could gain the most natural light, and to use the sun on the south-facing side of the house for passive solar heating.

Upon entering the yellow home, Beaudoin ascended the staircase to the second floor, which is the main living area.

“The thing you’ll first notice when you’re up here is the sky: It’s a central element,” said Beaudoin, pointing to the many windows throughout the main open living area.

“I have this east-facing window, where I get the morning sun. Then the large south-facing windows and French doors allow for huge solar gains. In January, if you’re sitting on the couch there, it feels like Hawaii.”

Gary Beaudoin says he spends most of the time in the homes upstairs room which includes the kitchen, and living room, plus lovely views through large windows.

Rob Kerr / The Bulletin

Broad expanses of glass and high ceilings allow the natural light to flood the interior. It’s just as he planned it 15 years ago, when he was sitting in a chair on the lot.

One of Beaudoin’s favorite spots is a west-facing bay window with a little built-in seating area, where he takes in the sunsets. “The clouds are always changing. It just brings a sense of the outdoors, inside,” said Beaudoin, pointing to a small square clerestory window high above the French doors, near the steep pitched ceiling. “When you’re up here, it can feel like a treehouse.”

Though the house is only 28 feet long and 16 feet wide, Beaudoin says he has never felt like he has needed more room.

From his living room, he can go onto a small wooden cantilevered deck and gain another five feet of outdoor space.

A porch leads off of the second-floor of Gary Beaudoins small home. Double doors on the bottom floor access the bedroom to the garden.

On the opposite end of his living room is the full size kitchen. The home’s diminutive size is maximized by its thoughtful layout. Beaudoin decided to use maple wood for his kitchen cabinetry because it was a light colored wood, which would make the space seem larger.

Gary Beaudoins kitchen is simple and open to the living area on the second floor of his small home.

Rob Kerr / The Bulletin

Opening the opposing windows in the house allows for a nice cross breeze to circulate during the summer months. The long, tall window above the kitchen sink looks out toward the front of his property.

“Every window has a nice view. I didn’t want to cut out the vistas, and I wanted a sense of movement with the light coming through every window,” said Beaudoin. “To me, the house feels alive, and with all the windows it feels roomier.”

Art collection

If he ever gets tired of looking at the clouds in the sky, Beaudoin can enjoy the one-of-a-kind Navajo woven art around his home.

As a lifelong collector, Beaudoin has become something of an expert, and he has recently finished writing a book about Navajo weaving.

“It’s a great American art form, but it may be a dying art form,” said Beaudoin. “The Navajos use all natural vegetable dyes, using juniper berries, wild carrots, lichen and other plants from the Great Plateau. This blanket took the weaver one week to weave one square foot. A blanket with lots of design work can take up to a year to complete.”

Gary Beaudoin collects handmade Navajo blankets, which are displayed throughout his home. He said that the one on the right pictured here took over a year to make by hand.

Rob Kerr / The Bulletin

Beaudoin will be giving a lecture and doing a book signing on May 27 at the Downtown Bend Public Library on the topic of Navajo weaving (see “If you go”).

Besides the dozens of Navajo blankets Beaudoin has collected, he also has smaller woven Navajo wall hangings.

All of the home’s floors are terra cotta-colored Mexican tiles. The uniformity adds depth, making the home seem larger. Beaudoin picked this material because it was economical and it provided stylish continuity from room to room. Beaudoin used random small splashes of blue, red and yellow tile pieces inlaid into the larger terra cotta tiles. The playful colors make the rooms bright and fun. He also used the colorful tile inlays in the staircase.

Beaudoin also included custom-made forged iron works in and around his home.

The stairwell leading to the top floor includes an artistic metal railing.

Rob Kerr / The Bulletin

“The staircase railing was made by Jeremy Lewis. It looks like a piece of art to me,” said Beaudoin. “Jeremy also did the ironwork around the fireplace, made the coat rack you saw downstairs, and the bells that ring outside.”

Custom metal work borders a gas fireplace that sits along one wall in the second floor.

Rob Kerr / The Bulletin

The long narrow stairs back to the first floor are steep.

The full-size bathroom on the first floor features a 1910 claw-foot tub with brass fixtures.

The homes only bath includes a claw-foot tub.

Rob Kerr / The Bulletin

A full-size built-in tiled shower includes opaque glass bricks to add more natural light into the shower area.

Farther down the long hall, three steps lead into the sunken bedroom area of the house. The only bedroom in the house is surprisingly large, which allows Beaudoin to use it as his sleeping area and study.

Another set of French doors in this bedroom leads to the backyard.

The simple bedroom features a wood beam across the ceiling and Navajo blanket decorations.

Rob Kerr / The Bulletin

“I wanted to build this bedroom where I could just go out these doors and be on ground level,” said Beaudoin.

The cantilevered deck upstairs provides ample shade for this downstairs bedroom in the summer months.

“When I positioned this house, I integrated the landscape with it, and it feels real private. I don’t have a single window covering in this home,” said Beaudoin, adding, “I didn’t have to cut a single tree down to build this house either. I have a beautiful ponderosa tree in front and lots of junipers around.”

“At 875 square feet, this house is everything I need,” said Beaudoin. “I designed it based on what my needs are.”

— Reporter: pnakamura@bendbulletin.com

Editor’s note: The At Home section features a profile of a local home each month. To suggest a home, email athome@bendbulletin.com.

If you go

What: Gary Beaudoin’s Navajo art discussion

When: 6 p.m. May 27

Where: Downtown Bend Public Library

Cost: Free

Contact: 541-312-1034